At Clerkenwell, we aim for children to acquire a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of mathematics. We want children to become curious, excited and confident mathematicians who independently deal with tackling maths in different contexts.
We achieve this by ensuring all of our pupils:
Develop fluency in their mathematical understanding, being able to rapidly recall and apply their knowledge
Learn to reason mathematically, using mathematical language to explain their understanding
Can solve problems, through applying their mathematical knowledge in various contexts and using different strategies
Maths lessons follow a whole class teaching for mastery approach. Our lessons focus on five elements of classroom practice that combine to give pupils the best chance of mastering maths:
Representation and Structure
To assist us with our mastery approach, we refer to the Power Maths and White Rose schemes of work. We find these schemes useful in helping us to plan/teach a coherent sequence of lessons that build on prior learning/knowledge. We also find them useful in helping us to generate questions/ intelligence practice worksheets that focus on variation and emphasise the representation and structure of the mathematics.
However, teachers have the flexibility to refer to other resource banks at times if they so wish and to adapt their maths lessons to best suit the needs of the children in their class.
To help our children become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, our teachers will often begin lessons with quick-fire fluency starters e.g. times table challenges in KS2 and number bond challenges in KS1.
In our maths lessons it is normal practice to see children reasoning mathematically and solving problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems. Able mathematicians will often delve deeper into investigative work.
Just as our mission statement states that children should be provided with a wide range of opportunities to make connections, through maths we aim for children to relate mathematical ideas outside of maths lessons and into real life contexts. When meaningful links can be made, pupils are provided with the opportunity to develop their maths skills and knowledge not just outside of the classroom but across the curriculum. When completing science experiments for example, children are encouraged to call upon mathematical skills to determine how to compose results tables (e.g. if they have learnt about line graphs in maths, do they decide to record results using a line graph if it fits the experiment).
We face challenging circumstances in the 2020/2021 academic year as a result of the covid-19 crisis. During the 2019/2020 academic year all children missed a significant amount of in-school mathematical teaching time. We will therefore make appropriate changes to our mathematical curriculum to best suit the learning needs of our children when they return in September.
We will continue to teach maths using a teaching for mastery approach, especially focusing on the use of small steps. Too much focus on “making up for lost time” too early is likely to be counterproductive. A focus on the longer term will take priority.
At the start of the 2020/2021 academic year all year groups will begin to teach units that focus on the “core” maths principles, following White Rose and Power Maths schemes of work as they would normally. For most year groups this will mean beginning with place value. Most year groups fully completed their place value units in the 2019/2020 academic year and so no key learning time was missed in this respect. However, teachers need to be mindful of the fact that the children have had a significant longer time out of school than normal. We need to make sure these “core” maths principles are taught with care, and enough time allocated to recap from the previous year, allowing children to engage and reason about this learning. So for the first 1-2 weeks of the place value unit, teachers are advised to focus on the previous year’s place value unit to help refresh the children and consolidate the learning that took place e.g. usually in year 6 the children at the start of the year would spend 2 weeks on place value. This unit has been revised to last for four weeks (the first 2 weeks covering year 5 place value learning and the subsequent two weeks the year 6 syllabus).
Teachers need to be mindful of the fact that after covering the “core” maths units, they will reach areas of the mathematical curriculum that were not taught at all at school during the 2019/2020 academic year. This applies especially to the following units in a number of year groups: geometry, measurement and statistics. When reaching these units, teachers should spend a significant amount of time covering the previous year's learning. To expect a teacher to do this and then to complete the current year's learning as well is not realistic and would lead to poor understanding - which would need to be retaught the following year. Understanding and depth is as important as ever and it would prove to be 'false economy' to try and rush to catch up. For example, when year 6 reach a geometry unit of work, the teacher will need to refer to the year 5 geometry unit of work as no learning related to this will have taken place in year 5. The teacher will need to teach this unit fully, deepening the children’s understanding before contemplating moving onto the year 6 geometry unit of work.
Maths Calculation Policy
Please have a look at our Maths Calculation Policy which highlights the different methods children learn in each year group for each of the following four operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Below are various links to useful websites that children may wish to access at home to continue their learning.
A great website with suggestions for supporting your child’s maths learning at home.
Games to help children with their rapid recall of key maths facts. We use this website at school and the children absolutely love it!
This websites has lots of maths investigations for your children to delve into.